More weird news from around the world

A summary examination
by Chris Hibbard
The Meliorist
March 20, 2008

Weird news from around the world Feb. 1 – March. 15, 2008

With information and quotations gleaned from Reuters, Associated Press (AP), and Agence-France-Presse (AFP)

At least once a year, I search out those bits of news that while seeming to be of little substance to many, provide us with some unique glimpses into luck, life, and the human condition.
Ladies and gentlemen, Meliorist readers, the next time that you think you’ve had a bad day – remember these examples and cheer yourself up.

A Cleveland company received their expected shipment of spooled steel coil from Singapore last week, complete with a stowaway inside one of the crates.
A “scrawny” black and white female kitten was apparently sealed inside the crate in Singapore
While the sad part of the story is that the crate also contained the kitten’s mother and three siblings, all of which were dead on arrival, the good news is that the “scrawny” survivor is expected to be adopted by one of the company employees.

A 30-year-old Aussie convinced a Melbourne car dealer to let him take a brand new Honda Accord on a test drive last week, then drove off the lot only to take off 3,200 kilometres deep into the countryside. His six-day test drive ended with his arrest deep in Australia’s Northern Territory. He was arrested without incident at a road block on his way north to Darwin after he “failed to pay for fuel at a hamlet. His test-drive-turn-joyride was the longest known to Australian police, and was the European equivalent of driving from London to Istanbul.

Facing an overcrowding crisis in the village graveyard, the mayor of Sarpourenx, France, has threatened his citizens with severe punishment if they die, since there is no room left in the cemetery to bury them.
Mayor Gerard Lalanne posted an ordinance in the council offices which read: “all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish”, complete with a warning that any “offenders will be severely punished.”

Do you think that dogs have souls? If so, do you consider your dog to be Catholic?
It would seem that in the town of Asaya, Nicaragua, hundreds of dogs are dressed up as babies or clowns on one Sunday of every year, and then paraded to a tiny church to celebrate mass. These devout pet owners line up for miles to pass by an image of a saint in the tiny church, wherein the faithful “thank the saint for curing their pets or ask for the dogs to be protected from illness. This tradition, which locals claim goes back to the colonial period after the Spanish conquest, include the town’s priest conducting a special canine mass.

As if we needed yet another reason to appreciate fortune cookies, they can now officially be crucial evidence in criminal investigations.
After a pair of break-ins at Chinese restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police responded to a burglar alarm at a third to find Terrence Middleton, 30, near the scene “with more than $20 in coins and the cookies in his pockets” one first-response officer said. The officer claims that police were able to “link Middleton to the Asian Express that was robbed because he had possession of the same type of fortune cookies” that were at one of the previously robbed restaurants.

A little closer to home, last week in Prince George, BC, a young romantic named Aaron Tkachuk thought he had devised the perfect way to propose to his high school sweetheart. Planning on “popping the question on a moonlit Caribbean beach”, he wound up popping the question to his fiancée Jennifer Rubadeau at an airport security screening station instead.
An alert and curious luggage screener at the Prince George airport insisted on having a closer look at the X-rayed contents of a small box in the toe of a sock. When it turned out that inside the box was a white gold, diamond and ruby ring, “Tkachuk decided to propose on the spot, and other travelers and security personnel cheered as Rubadeau said yes.”

A homeowner’s house was severely damaged on Friday in a small village in Russia’s Ural Mountains when a Russian military army tank crashed into the corner of it.
After the tank crew stopped to buy more vodka at a nearby shop, footage from a mobile phone camera showed the tank “hitting a corner of the house and a laughing, and apparently drunk, driver awkwardly trying to clamber aboard with two bottles of vodka.”
The army promised shortly after the incident to pay compensation and said the tank must have been broken and fallen behind a column heading to a test site for exercises. Earlier it said the vehicle slid on melting ice.

A controversial scientific thesis was made last Tuesday, claiming that the biblical Israelites may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai.
A new study by Benny Shanon, an Israeli psychology professor at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, claims that two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those “found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.” He said that a psychoactive plant called harmal which is found in the Sinai and elsewhere in the Middle East, has long been regarded by Jews in the region as having magical and curative powers. He hypothesizes that “the thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an “altered state of awareness.”” Some biblical scholars were unimpressed.

The Vietnamese government has initiated a new war, one which is said to be over quickly.
This war is not on America, North Vietnam, or even humans at all, but on hamsters!
A wildly popular pet in Vietnam during this current lunar Year of the Rat, the government fears that these dangerous foreign-bred fur balls could spread disease and destroy crops.
Starting last Monday, “anyone possessing or trading hamsters faces stiff fines of up to 30 million dong (1,875 dollars), the state-run Vietnam News reported.
After the stern warning was decreed, the street price of hamsters (which have become a common illegal imported) dropped from over 20 dollars per hamster to less than 10.

A report last Thursday details how an eight-year-old Brazilian boy passed an entrance exam to study at Paulista University law school, but was nevertheless prevented from enrolling.
Joao Victor Portelinha de Oliveira successfully won entry into the law school after completing exams and a writing test last week, but the university said he does not qualify because he has not studied at a high school level.
Brazil’s association of lawyers has complained that a boy so young should never have been allowed to sit a university entrance exam, and has called on the education ministry to ensure that no other primary schoolers are given the chance to sit such tests. Meanwhile, Joao Victor’s father told the local newspaper he was going to take the matter to court.

In a terribly sad story, a letter of love written by a 13-year-old girl to her recently deceased mother was returned to her by the post office, who could not deliver said letter to its address: “Paradise Street, Heaven”.
The young girl from central France wanted to send a “message of love, like a bottle in the ocean”, on the second anniversary of her mother’s death. But two days after she slipped it into a local postbox, marked with her mother’s name but no stamp, her letter was returned to her – along with 1.35 euro (two-dollar) fine for unpaid postage.
Asked to explain the heartbreaking mishap, the French post office said there really was a town in the area called Heaven — “Ciel” in French — but that Paradise Street was unknown, so the letter could not be delivered.

An accountant who tried to sue British retail chain Marks & Spencer after he slipped on a grape and injured himself lost his case on Wednesday and was ordered to pay legal costs. The accountant had sued the chain for more than $600,000 over a 2004 incident in which he said a squashed grape from the store got lodged under the sole of his right sandal, causing him to slip and fall. The judge ruled against him last week however, determining that he was not persuaded that the grape was what caused the claimant to slip.

A Chinese bride burned her new husband to death last week after they had argued while drunk about his climbing into bed washing his feet, wrote the official Xinhua news agency. The recently married couple from the province of Hubei, apparently fought quite frequently over trivial things. At about 10 p.m. on March 13, the wife watched her husband get into bed without cleaning his feet, then in “a fit of anger and intoxication”, set fire to the sheet he was sleeping in.” As fire engulfed the bedroom, she excaped, leaving her husband to burn. She has been arrested.

A police station in Corpus Christi, Texas was briefly evacuated last Thursday after a woman decided she should bring in a hand grenade that she had found. After finding the live grenade while cleaning out a relative’s belongings, the unidentified woman handed it over to an officer at the station, who immediately took it outside the building. Police cleared the building just in case, and the bomb squad detonated it about an hour later.

The Florida Senate wants public school students to pull up their pants, so much so that lawmakers passed a bill last week that could mean suspensions for students with saggy bottoms. It won’t become law unless the House of Representatives passes a companion measure. Several other southern U.S. towns have passed similar “low rider” laws aimed at outlawing what some teenagers consider a fashion statement – wearing pants half way down their buttocks, exposing flesh or underwear.

A Macedonian court has convicted a bear for theft and damage after the animals repeatedly stole honey from a local beekeeper. The beekeeper had repeatedly scared the bear away from his apiary by flashing bright lights and playing loud “turbo-folk” music. But when these tactics failed, the bear came back and it attacked the beehives again. Since the bear had no owner and belonged to a protected species, the court in the city of Bitola found the bear guilty, and subsequently ordered the state to pay for the 140,000 denars in damage it had caused to the hives.

Last Thursday afternoon, a 28-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested after attempting to rob a bank in the borough of Liberty, west of Scranton. After waiting in his car for about 20 minutes, the man tried to enter the bank wearing a ski mask and carrying a rifle. But since the bank’s Liberty branch closes at noon on Thursdays, his plans were foiled. While fleeing the scene however, bank employees took note of his license plate number.

Someone bid more than $50 on eBay last week for a Frosted Flake touted to look just like the state of Illinois. Emily McIntire, a sophomore in high school from Chesapeake, VA, said she was grabbing fistfuls of cereal on her way to class when she found the flake. “It was almost to my mouth, it didn’t look like Illinois at first because it was held the wrong way,” said McIntire, but then she noticed the resemblance and said, “Oh my goodness, it’s Illinois.” Her parents suggested that she attempt to sell it just for fun, and so she did, even offering free shipping to Illinois.

An angry restaurant owner in Gloucester, Massachusetts caught a man attempting to steal an armful of meet from his freezer, so took matters into his own hands. Catching up with the thief, Joe Scola, the restaurant owner, raised a five-pound log of frozen Italian ham over his head, then slammed it into the man’s face, The stunned thief dropped his loot and ran.

An Australian couple who took a spontaneous weekend holiday last week arrived home to find forensic officers tearing up their patio looking for signs of foul play and a press conference about their disappearance underway. The retired couple had neglected to tell their daughter about their weekend plans, and had forgotten to lock the house, allowing their dog to get out. Fearing the worst, the daughter called the police, who launched a full-scale missing persons / homicide investigation.

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~ by Chris Hibbard on June 5, 2009.

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